Begala and Kristol part 1: Presidential candidates need to give specifics

07/18/2012 12:09 PM

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney each need to offer a few key specifics about their goals for the next four years to break free from a presidential campaign mostly made up of “little jabs” so far. That’s one area in which Democratic strategist Paul Begala and William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard agree.

Begala and Kristol, who were in Louisville Tuesday to speak at the annual Kentucky Chamber of Commerce meeting, said Romney and Obama might be waiting until their speeches at their parties’ national conventions in late August and early September, respectively.

Kristol, also a commentator on Fox News, has criticized Romney’s campaign in his columns for being on “autopilot” and merely restating that the economy is sluggish. Kristol explained why Romney’s 59-point plan isn’t capturing voters’ attention. (2:30 of the video)

“He has to has some simple ideas and defend them and explain them,” Kristol said. And if Romney is waiting until the Republican National Convention, which starts Aug. 27 in Tampa, Fla., Kristol said that makes him nervous. (8:00)

Begala, a former consultant to President Bill Clinton and for the late Wallace Wilkinson’s successful campaign for Kentucky governor in 1987, said Obama, too, must talk about the future. (4:00 of the video)

“He hasn’t laid out those four or five things he would do in his second term that would be very different,” said Begala, a political analyst for CNN and strategist for a pro-Obama super PAC. “I think the first one of these two who does that — maybe it will happen at the conventions — is going to be the one who at least a chance to break out of this stalemate.”

Note: Part 2 of the interview will go online Thursday featuring Kristol and Begala talking about the parties’ different approach to taxes and the controversy over Romney’s former employer, Bain Capital.

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